The newly-appointed Conservative leader has said the new administration really wants to “stand up” against the Scottish Government to get a “fairer funding deal for the city”.
Councillor Douglas Lumsden said the past few days have been “quite exhausting” after the full council meeting on Wednesday saw his Tory group join forces with Labour and independent councillors to form an administration.
Labour councillors in Aberdeen defied their national bosses to enter into a partnership with 11 Tory colleagues and three independent councillors.
And now all nine Labour members have been suspended following an announcement by Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale.
The Conservative group leader said the working majority provided by the coalition is “a lot better for the city” than a minority SNP coalition.
He added: “If we had a minority administration then who knows what would have happened in the next couple of months.
“It could have been that in the next few months the Liberal Democrats join with SNP.
“This way we have a clear way forward and I think that’s what Aberdeen needs right now.
“If you look at the oil and gas industry, we’ve went through some hard times there and the last thing we need is turmoil in the council.
“We need to be there to provide a strong base for business to grow and I think that’s what we’ll do.
“I think there is a thought the SNP group would just accept a poor funding deal because they are being ruled by their executive in Edinburgh.
“The groups coming together really want to stand up against the SNP Scottish Government to get a fairer deal for the city.”
The SNP group leader Stephen Flynn has said the formation of the new coalition symbolised “a dark day for democracy”.
With Jenny Laing, the same Labour leader of the council in place, and senior councillors Barney Crockett and Marie Boulton remaining in influential positions within the administration it may be asked whether the new council will be much the same as before.
But Cllr Lumsden, who has also been appointed the new finance convener, said although the parties are still the same, the “mix is completely different”.
He added: “There’s 12 new faces within that coalition, all with new ideas and experiences coming on board and the leadership is different.
“I will be there as co-leader and I’ve got some strong ideas on things we should change.
“We should be a lot more open and greater consultation going forward.”
Despite the Conservatives having 11 councillors compared to Labour’s nine, the smaller party currently has both the leadership and Provost positions.
Cllr Lumsden said it was “true at present” and said it was “meant to be co-leaders on Wednesday”.
He added: “That didn’t happen because of challenges from the SNP.
“The legal team here are looking to put a framework in place to allow us to have co-leaders and we expect that to be done in the next week or two.”
The Conservative councillor said “as far as he was concerned” it would be happening.
He said: “It’s been done in Aberdeenshire and Fife have done the same.
“We’re talking to the other councils to say what they’ve had to do.
“I don’t see it as a problem.”
The decision to propose co-leaders now is because the mix of councillors is “completely different”, according to Cllr Lumsden.
He added: “This is something new, it is a new mix and a new coalition.” Cllr Lumsden said the suspension of Labour councillors is an internal issue for their party.
However, he said they have been “quite harshly treated” by their own party and have been “brave in what they have done”.
He added: “They definitely put the city above their party politics.
“Jenny Laing is still the same Jenny Laing she was a week ago.
“She still has the same core values she had a week ago.”
The administration is now in the midst of making up their own “shared vision”.
He added: “Myself and Jenny have been sitting down and looking at the policy document.
“Marie has been involved with that also.
“It’s been a busy week so far and it’s not going to slow down for the next couple of weeks.”
One of the coalition’s key priorities is to review possible business rates relief in the city along with affordable homes provision on which a policy will be coming forward.
Conservative councillor Alan Donnelly has in the past expressed his support of building a new bridge over the River Dee that involves the creation of a dual carriageway link road between Garthdee Road and the A90 Aberdeen to Dundee route.
But Cllr Lumsden said that was Cllr Donelly’s “own personal view” on that and added the group wanted to wait and see what the traffic flows are like when the AWPR is open.
He added: “I don’t think we should be rushing to build a bridge just now when we don’t know what the impact will be after the bypass.”
The Tory group leader, who has a background in IT, is still relatively new to the political arena, having only joined the party a couple of years ago.
He said: “I really got involved because I wanted to try to make a difference in Aberdeen.
“I care passionately about the city, I’ve got two children here and I want there to be a future for them in Aberdeen and I don’t want them to feel they have to move away to fulfil their potential.”
The SNP’s leader in Aberdeen, Councillor Stephen Flynn, speaks to the Evening Express next week.